The Wehea Dayak community living in Muara Wahau District, East Kutai, have long collaborated with the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation and engaged with the Orangutan Habitat Restoration (RHO) Program, in the conservation of orangutans and their habitat. The Wehea Dayak people firmly believe that conserving nature goes hand in hand with preserving their own culture and traditions.
Just like nature and all the living creatures on Earth, the traditions and cultures that have influenced human life for centuries also need to be protected and preserved. The BOS Foundation continues to collaborate with and provide strong support to the Wehea Dayak community, one of the Dayak sub-tribes of East Kutai Regency. In the subdistrict of Muara Wahau, East Kutai Regency, there are around 6,000 Wehea Dayak people spread across six villages in the area: Bea Nehas, Diaq Lay, Dea Beq, Nehas Liah Bing, Diaq Leway, and Long Wehea.
For five years, the BOS Foundation, through its RHO Program, has worked with the residents of the Diaq Lay, Dea Beq, and Bea Nehas villages to develop their public health programs, provide formal and non-formal education, create and foster alternative income streams, and strengthen the traditions of the Wehea Dayak.
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, MSC., BOS Foundation CEO, said; «The culture and traditions of indigenous peoples, in general, support the principles of nature preservation. Damage to nature started in modern times, when the demand for natural resources grew exponentially, and humans failed to maintain a balance between the consumption and preservation of these natural resources. With this in mind, we at the BOS Foundation, through the RHO Program, support efforts to empower and increase the capacity of the Wehea Dayak indigenous communities living in and around our working area. We hope that conservation efforts for orangutans and their habitat, as well as for the culture and traditions of our Wehea Dayak brothers and sisters, work hand in hand to achieve a level of success both sides can be proud of.»
One of the ways the BOS Foundation provides support through the RHO Program is by participating in the Kaltim Expo 2020. Through this event, the BOS Foundation is able to introduce and promote the cultural heritage of the Wehea Dayak people through handicraft exhibitions, and traditional Wehea Dayak dance and musical performances.
DR. ALDRIANTO PRIADJATI, RHO Program Manager, added; «We at the BOS Foundation, through the RHO Program, have worked closely with the Wehea Dayak peoples, and staunchly believe that their customs and traditions strongly support the values of nature protection and preservation. Therefore, together we need to help keep Wehea Dayak culture and traditions alive, in order to also support the conservation of orangutans and their habitat. The more that people know about the Wehea Dayak’s customs and traditions, the greater the success of orangutan and habitat conservation.»